Avaya: Virtualized Aura Platform, New Pricing Models To Benefit Partners

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Simplified pricing structures, a greater midmarket play and healthy demand for Avaya's new virtualized Aura platform are a few of several perks Avaya partners can expect in 2013, the networking and unified communications giant said Tuesday.

Avaya highlighted these anticipated benefits during its second-quarter Executive Partner Update call, hosted by Tom Mitchell, senior vice president of Avaya's global sales, and John Spiliotis, vice president of Avaya's global channel.

Spiliotis kicked off the call by outlining new and upcoming Avaya products that will spur partner growth in the year ahead. The first, and most heavily touted, was Aura VE, the new virtualized version of Avaya's flagship Aura UC platform that launched in December. The platform, which was dubbed a step in the right direction by Avaya partners, enables existing Aura customers to deploy Aura UC applications in VMware-based environments.


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Partners can sell either the fully virtualized Aura platform, the server-based dedicated hardware version, or the Aura UC Collaboration Pod, which bundles the VMware software, EMC's storage, virtualized servers, and Avaya's UC and networking solutions into a single package. According to Spiliotis, this third, end-to-end model will be key to partners selling the virtualized Aura platform into smaller organizations, or those lacking robust IT shops.

"[The Collaboration Pod] brings together everything that a company needs to deploy virtualized UC, from the application to the network to the storage arrays," Spiliotis said on the call. "It offers customer who have limited technical resources or a tight deployment schedule a simple and easy way to deploy UC to the cloud."

Spiliotis also positioned Aura VE as a means to keep partners competitive, citing a Nemertes Research study that found 70 percent of companies have plans to virtualize their UC applications. "We've been gaining a lot of traction with this solution," Spiliotis said.

Jeff Hiebert, CEO of ROI Networks, a San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based solution provider, said he's excited about Avaya's new Aura VE platform because it appeals to both customers with existing cloud or virtualized environments and those who are still evaluating deployments.

"It's a great product, we love it and we're at the process of actually consummating deals based on that platform," Hiebert said.

Just as importantly, Hiebert continued, Aura VE allows Avaya partners to not only sell UC applications but also help customers on a broader scale, such as with network refreshes or rolling out a virtualization strategy.

"A lot of my sales now are not UC-led; they're actually infrastructure upgrade-led, and then that pulls through to UC," Hiebert told CRN. "So you aren't really leading with a UC sale in many cases. You are leading with a network refresh, an infrastructure build, or a virtualization or cloud strategy -- and then you ultimately get down to ask, 'Have you thought about what you're going to do with your UC solutions?'"

In addition to Aura VE, Avaya's Spiliotis pointed to Avaya's new Flare Communicator solution for the iPad along with its new Scopia Elite 6000 Series videoconferencing solution as sources for partner growth moving forward. He also said the company's new Office IP solution, version 8.1, will give partners a leg up among smaller- and mid-sized companies.

NEXT: Avaya Simplifies Pricing Structures

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